Embracing Accountability

In this issue of our newsletter two of my associates weigh in. Joe Sheil waxes eloquent on the skills and traits that make a good musician and a good data analyst … and he should know. And Fred Crans, never at a loss for words, shares some thoughts on benchmarking and suggests a community approach to developing a comparative service.

I’d like to point out the underlying theme in these pieces – accountability. We are adopting a new tagline for our company: “Achieve a New Level of Supply Chain Accountability.” This is not without some level of trepidation, however. We have actually had a tough time selling one of our software applications because it offers views of the work performed and measurement of the outcomes achieved. This level of rigor and transparency breeds accountability, which we’ve learned, quite frankly, that some are not prepared to embrace.

As many have written, we are at the cusp of some pretty dramatic change in our industry and specifically, within our role in the industry. I made an observation in my general session panel presentation at AHRMM last summer: “We’ve come a long way, baby.” This was in reference to the fact that supply chain practitioners are beginning to get the attention from the C-Suite that we’ve long desired. Good news, right? I think so. However, it’s not lost on me that this respect has come on the backs of relatively few professionals with the courage to embrace their accountability, take risks, creatively face uncomfortable situations and, above all, to innovate. You don’t get attention for doing what you’ve always done … at least not good attention.

Here is our innovation this month: We are currently engaged by two very different organizations to assist with their GPO bid analyses. Another one of our applications helps solve very large and complex math problems. So rather than worrying about whether a GPO has placed the organization on the appropriate tier, why not send the entire PO history (without pricing, of course) so the GPO has everything it needs to accurately price. This exercise will also help the customers evaluate the GPO’s ability to handle and enhance data, something Joe is obsessive about, and something of which we should all be more cognizant.

In closing, a comment about measurement and benchmarking. Fred has several ideas that he’s mustered over the year in his article. I won’t steal his thunder. Rather, I want to offer a personal benchmark that has helped me over the years. When the going gets tough, and it’s going in that direction for those of us in this industry, I suggest volunteering to round on a unit in your facility and visit with patients. As clichéd and altruistic as it sounds, that is the ultimate benchmark for all of us in healthcare. Before you head out to do that, watch this video from the Cleveland Clinic, about the need for empathy in patient care. If rounding on patients doesn’t provide the ultimate benchmark, ground you and motivate your accountability, perhaps it’s time to look for another line of work.

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